Today's BP Ledger includes items from:
The Institute on Religion and Public Policy
God's Courtroom (news release)
Compass Direct News
B&H Publishing Group (news release)
Parents Television Council
International Mission Board
Dale Evans Project (news release)
Russia Legislative Analysis
Proposed Amendments to 1997 Russia Law Result in Prohibition of Religious Groups and Unregistered Religious Activity
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (The Institute on Religion and Public Policy)--On 6 October 2011, the Russian Ministry of Justice published a draft of amendments to the 1997 Federal Law "On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Associations" ("Religion Law).
Public comment regarding these proposed amendments was closed on 10 October 2011. To date, they have not been introduced in the Duma.
The Institute on Religion and Public Policy has obtained an English translation of the proposed Ministry of Justice amendments for this analysis.
Review of the draft law by the Institute's Expert Committee on Legislation and Implementation leads to the conclusion that passage of this legislation would represent a further serious setback for religious freedom in Russia.
The Religion Law contravenes European Human Rights Convention, OSCE and United Nations standards that Russia is bound to follow, as it flagrantly discriminates against minority religious groups.
In the Institute's opinion, the draft Religion Law is completely inconsistent with fundamental human rights as it contravenes the principles of equality and non-discrimination.
The Institute urges Russia to request the assistance of the OSCE Panel of Religious Experts to review the draft amendments to the 1997 Religion Law so that the panel may advise the government regarding the compatibility of the provisions of the proposed legislation with OSCE standards and international human rights law.
The full expert analysis of the law can be viewed at http://religionandpolicy.org/cms/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=7203&Itemid=495.
Pastor in India organizes open-air crusade
AGRA, India (God's Courtroom)--In a community near Agra, India, where the Gospel had never been publically proclaimed, a crusade was held September 13th. According to Pandu Maddala, the local pastor who organized the crusade, the area is dominated by Hindus and there could be violent attacks on believers if the Gospel was proclaimed in public. The few churches that exist are permitted to hold services inside a building but never in public.
Desiring to reach his community for Christ, Pastor Maddala had been working with Hindu children in the area and has earned the trust and support of their parents. He decided it was time for the first-ever public open-air evangelistic crusade in his Hindu community.
Maddala wisely recruited the support of one of the politicians who promised to attend. By doing this he knew there would be no violence because in India local politicians have a lot of power and influence in the communities. When the team arrived to hold the crusade, a crowd had already gathered, dozens of children, old and young people eager to watch; some were standing on buildings, others crowding doorways.
When evangelist Bruce Kugler began to speak his message "God's Courtroom," the crowd seemed to increase as people in the community came out to see what was happening.
At first the crowd did not look friendly, says Kugler. "I know that Hindu people believe in the existence of millions of gods and I was not sure whether the crowd would turn angry because I was proclaiming that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and they needed to surrender to Him as the absolute boss of their lives."
During the message, the Holy Spirit moved on the crowd. At the end, more than 20 Hindu people publically raised their hands to accept God's offer of a pardon through faith in Jesus Christ.
Pastor Maddala stated God worked so mightily as some of the Hindu woman were in tears as they listened to the message. There were children and young men who also received Christ.
For Kugler, it was a unique experience because many had never heard the Gospel. During the entire crusade, there was no threat of violence. In retrospect, Kugler believes the Gospel message had such an impact because of the prayers of many people at his home church and the prayers of the local pastors and believers.
In this community of India, perhaps for the first time, people heard there was a God in heaven who loved them, knew the number of the hairs on their head, sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on a cross to pay the penalty for their sin, and was offering them a pardon. Maddala is excited about the success of the crusade. After returning to the USA, Kugler has been informed by him that many people are still asking questions about Jesus and requesting Bibles.
Kugler was invited to India by Ron Herrod, president of RHEMA, an evangelistic ministry. Kugler was a member of a team of eight people who traveled to train pastors in Goa and Mumbai, India. RHEMA trains native pastors in a 10-week Bible and pastoral training program. Several pastors and seminary professors from the USA volunteer for a week to teach at the Bible Institutes in India.
Kugler, an attorney, is executive director of God's Courtroom, an evangelistic ministry of Living Faith Baptist Church in Sherman, Ill. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Somali Muslims Cut, Beat Christian Unconscious in Kenya
Assuming he is convert from Islam, victim's countrymen leave him for dead.
By Simba Tian/Compass Direct News
NAIROBI, Kenya (Compass Direct News)--A Somali Christian in Kenya is nursing injuries after young Muslim men from his country beat him with iron rods and wooden clubs last week, leaving him unconscious at a church entryway.
Hassan, a 25-year-old refugee from Somalia whose surname is withheld for security reasons, had hardly been raised as a Muslim, having received Christ at age 7. But the Somali neighbors in Kenya who attacked him left him for dead on Oct. 27, bleeding and naked, on the assumption that as a Somali he was born into Islam and was therefore an apostate deserving of death, the young man told Compass.
He and his mother, a convert from Islam who fled war in Somalia 10 years ago after the death of her husband, are part of an underground house church.
In a town in Kenya undisclosed for security reasons, Hassan was returning home from running errands at 8:30 p.m. when the six young Muslim men stopped him. They hit him with a metal bar on his forehead and face, he said, and he lost two teeth on the spot. Others hit him on the back.
Some stomped on his stomach while he was on the ground as others hit him on his legs, he said through bandages on his nose and above his mouth. His hands were bandaged where they wounded him with a knife.
The attackers stripped him of his clothes as he bled and dragged him away, dumping him at the entrance of an area Presbyterian Church of East Africa. Some passersby found him and called his mother, whose name is withheld for security reasons.
"When I reached the scene of the attack, my son was lying in a pool of blood," she told Compass. "I wailed and did not know what happened to me. I only gained consciousness after sometime, when so many people, including the police, had arrived at the scene. The attackers had covered my son all over with dirt."
He was rushed to a hospital, where he received a blood transfusion. When Compass met with him and his mother on Oct. 31, he still had several bandages on his face, his head cloaked in a wrap of grey fabric.
"Since the time my son was attacked, we have been spending sleepless nights due to the pain that he has been going through," his mother said. "He risks losing a third tooth, which is adding more pain for him. He also complains of abdominal pains; possibly he might have hurt some of his internal organs. But we are helpless; we have no money for specialized medication for him."
Police have arrested two of the assailants. The other four Muslims are still on the run, and Hassan and his mother said they fear justice will not be done due to area hatred for converts from Islam.
"I know the community does not like us because of our Christian faith, but we have done nothing bad," Hassan said.
His mother, who has six sons younger than Hassan and two daughters, noted that the area police commissioner is a Muslim in a Muslim-majority area. The arrest of two assailants is a hopeful sign that at the same time creates fear that area Muslims will make retaliatory strikes, she said.
"We need to relocate," she said. "The other sons are traumatized, especially now that two of the attackers are in police custody."
Neighborhood Muslims gradually surmised that the widow was a convert to Christianity; when Muslim women passed by her home every Friday inviting her to go to the mosque with them, she would always tell them she wasn't feeling well, she said.
"What happened to my son is the climax of the threats that I have been receiving from my Muslim neighbors," she said. "They have now discovered that we are Christians. They have heard my small children sing Christian songs. In fact, there are rumors going round that I am the pastor of the group, but my strength is from God and my seven sons."
She and Hassan speculated that the Somali Muslim neighbors attacked him because "the oldest son is the strength of the mother."
Her faith, she said, remains strong.
"Even though he has been beaten, I trust God to protect us," she said. "I will not return to Islam; I will stand with Christ."
For his part, Hassan said that even when they were beating him, he was praying.
"In spite of what happened, I don't feel I'm losing my Christian faith," he said. "I still need to fight for the Christian faith, in spite of what I'm feeling now."
Simba Tian is a writer with Compass Direct (www.compassdirect.org), a news service based in Santa Ana, Calif., focusing on Christians worldwide who are persecuted for their faith. Used by permission.
B&H Publishing Group Wins Two USA 'Best Books 2011' Awards
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (B&H Publishing Group)--Two B&H Publishing Group authors have won USA "Best Books 2011" Awards from USA Book News, the premiere online magazine and review website for mainstream and independent publishing houses.
Candace Cameron Bure, who starred for eight seasons in ABC television's Full House and is now a featured cast member of ABC Family's Make It or Break It, received her award in the Women's Health category for Reshaping It All: Motivation for Physical and Spiritual Fitness. Also a New York Times best seller, the book is a candid account of how faith ultimately reshaped her life, giving her true freedom from food addiction.
James L. Rubart took the Fiction: Visionary category for his widely acclaimed debut novel Rooms about a young software tycoon who inherits a coastal Oregon home that is really God's physical manifestation of his soul. Rooms also won an RT Book Reviews Reviewers' Choice Award. Publishers Weekly says, "(Rubart's) premise is compelling."
Other B&H finalists in the USA "Best Books 2011" Awards included What Women Fear by Angie Smith (Self Help: Motivational) and current New York Times best sellers The Resolution for Women by Priscilla Shirer (Women's Issues) and The Resolution for Men by Stephen and Alex Kendrick with Randy Alcorn (Parenting/Family: General).
"We're proud of these authors and grateful to be working with them," says B&H vice president of marketing Mary Katharine Hunt. "Their books are making a real difference in readers' lives, and it's an honor to be part of that."
For a complete list of USA "Best Books 2011" Award winners, visit USAbooknews.com.
B&H Publishing Group, a division of LifeWay Christian Resources, is a team of more than 100 mission-minded people with a passion for taking God's Word to the world. B&H exists to provide intentional, Bible-centered content that positively impacts the hearts and minds of people, inspiring them to build a lifelong relationship with Jesus Christ.
From its original core of Bibles, textbooks, and reference titles, B&H has blossomed into a major publisher of Christian living, fiction, and academic releases as well as church supplies and extensive digital resources. The company's stable of best-selling authors includes Beth Moore, Henry Blackaby, Priscilla Shirer, Thom S. Rainer, Vicki Courtney, Angie Smith, and Oliver North. Recent releases include New York Times No. 1 bestseller The Love Dare and the award-winning HCSB Study Bible. B&H is also the world's leading trade publisher of Spanish language Bibles.
PTC: Networks Want Benefits But Not Responsibility of Using Broadcast Airwaves
LOS ANGELES (Parents Television Council)--The Parents Television Council told the TV networks to stop exploiting the benefits and ignoring the responsibilities of the public airwaves. PTC's response came after briefs were filed by ABC, Fox, CBS and NBC in a landmark TV decency case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court. The case involves so-called "fleeting" profanity on award shows and nudity on "NYPD Blue."
"The broadcast television networks reap tens of billions of dollars each and every year from the cash cow that is the public airwaves, but they claim to be unfairly burdened by the smallest morsel of responsibility when it comes to waiting until 10 pm to air indecent content. The networks' Supreme Court briefs make crystal clear their resolve to shred any remaining boundaries for decency, paving the way for the harshest profanity and graphic sexual content to be aired in front of kids at any time of day," said PTC President Tim Winter.
"If the broadcast TV networks are really tired of living under different rules than cable or the Internet, then they should become cable or Internet companies. The networks could easily give up the half-trillion dollar spectrum owned by the public that they use for free, or they could start paying to use the airwaves like other spectrum users do.
"Because of the pervasive nature of the broadcast medium, requiring a certain level of responsibility isn't just reasonable, it is required by a broadcast license. Content on the public airwaves is beamed directly into every home in the country in exchange for a promise to serve the public interest, convenience and necessity. If the networks want rights without responsibilities, they should become a pay service.
"How can the creative community possibility be suffering from a 'chill' on free speech when there are over 500 channels that are not subject to the indecency law? Nobody is telling Hollywood they can't produce and distribute indecent content. They are simply required not to use the public airwaves during certain hours of the day to do it.
"We urge the Supreme Court to look through the smokescreen of the TV networks' interest, and instead side with the public interest. If the Court agrees with broadcasters and tosses out the broadcast decency law, the reality is that pornography will be legal on the publicly-owned airwaves at any time of day," Winter concluded.
South Asia Prayer Requests
SOUTH ASIA (IMB)--Brief items reported by South Asia News (http://www.go2southasia.org) on Nov. 1 include:
BANGLADESH. "November always makes me think of Thanksgiving and all the things I have to be thankful for in my life. Living overseas has made me even more appreciative of this holiday and the opportunity for reflection that it lends. This year, November also brings a very visible reminder of how thankful we as Christians need to remain for the gift of the cross. God gave His Son to die for our sins so that we may have life. This month, millions of Muslims will gather and sacrifice an animal to Allah in commemoration of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son. The streets literally will run with blood as animals are slaughtered. Pray for Bengali Muslims to come to faith in Christ and to accept God's sacrifice for their sins in the person of Jesus Christ. Pray that this Thanksgiving, there will be more brothers and sisters to join us in giving heartfelt thanks to God for His presence in our lives."
BHUTAN. Pray for the Kurtopa (Gurtu) people who live in the Lhuntse District in northern Bhutan near the China border. It is estimated that at least 80 percent of the Kurtopa have never heard the Good News. Known for their embroidery and basket making, the Kurtopa count it a privilege to send their sons to the monastery for a time. The royal family traces their ancestry to this area. Pray that the Kurtopa would soon become "children of the King!"
DIASPORA. South Asians are on the move! Millions of South Asian Muslims live outside of their home countries of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Maldives. They have immigrated to Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and North America. On November 6, they will celebrate the Feast of Sacrifice, commemorating the faith of Abraham, who was willing to sacrifice his son at the command of God. But they don't know about God sending His Son as the sacrifice for humanity. "Here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29b, HCSB). Please pray for cross-cultural workers around the world to have Holy Spirit empowerment in telling this Good News to South Asian Muslims. Pray that the Spirit will open the eyes, ears and hearts of thousands to receive this message and follow Jesus as their only hope of salvation.
INDIA. Incredible, colorful India--diverse in skin tones and spiritual beliefs. The 1.1 billion people who live in India are believed to have religious freedom. However, Christians are persecuted daily and accused falsely of forcefully converting others to Christianity. Slapped, beaten, excluded from their families and sometimes imprisoned, believers in India take a bold stand for Jesus Christ. Pray for committed Indian believers who in the midst of beating, humiliation, torture and death threats remain faithful to Jesus as they heed His words in John 15:20-21: "Remember the word that I said to you, 'A slave is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My names' sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me."
MALDIVES. Last month, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs published new regulations under the Protection of Religious Unity Act of 1994, signaling a renewed commitment to control unlicensed preaching of Islam and propagation of non-Islamic religions in the country. The Act outlaws promotion of anything that represents a religion other than Islam or any opinion that disagrees with Islamic scholars. The new set of regulations maintains a longtime ban on propagation, display and expression of any religion other than Islam. Any violation under the Act is punishable by an imprisonment of between two and five years, banishment or house arrest. Foreigners who are found proselytizing are to be deported. On Oct. 14, a young Indian man was deported from the Maldives (after 2 weeks of interrogation) because he had a Bible and a rosary in his house. (Compass News Direct.) Pray that this young man and others like him will continue to stand strong for Jesus no matter the consequences. Pray that this law will be repealed and that the Maldivian people will have freedom of religion.
NEPAL. Christians are the minority in Nepal -- constituting about 5 percent of the population. Since February, 2011, the Christian community has being trying to obtain designated burial grounds from the government. Up to this point, their requests have gone unmet. In early November, the Christian minority has threatened to go on a hunger strike. Please pray that the Nepali government would listen to this heartfelt request from the Nepali Christians and meet their need. Pray that Christianity would grow in Nepal as faithful Nepali Christians love and share with all those around them.
PAKISTAN. This year's flooding in the Sindh province has affected more than 8 million people and has already taken the lives of more than 300. Even for those who were not flooded, soaring prices due to the loss of vegetable crops is making life very difficult. As follow-up continues from last year's flooding, pray for wisdom and open doors so that God's people may continue to show the compassion of Christ. Pray that God will open many eyes, and people will turn to Jesus.
SRI LANKA. In November, Muslims around the world will be participating in one of their most religious festivities. It is Eid ul-Adha and marks the end of the hajj pilgrimage, which they believe that all Muslims who are able should take at least once in their lifetime. It is also a time of sacrifice, commemorating Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael (according to their story). The Malay are just one of the unreached people groups in Sri Lanka. While they account for only about 5 percent of the Muslim population, there are 60,000 Malay spread throughout the island -- the largest concentration (20,000) being in the capital city of Colombo, with another large number residing in the southern district of Hambantota. This month the Malay -- along with the Arab, Bengali, Mappila and Moor -- will be sacrificing an animal without any apparent blemish. Would you lift up these Muslim people groups before the Spotless Lamb, who sacrificed Himself so that they might have eternal life? Would you claim Hebrews 10:4 and 10 (HCSB), asking that they will know the saving knowledge of this truth? "For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins ... By this will, we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all." Pray for Christians who live in areas where there are many Malay. Ask God to cause their paths to cross, and pray that seeds will be planted that will, in turn, bear much fruit.
SOUTH ASIAN PEOPLES. Bringing together approximately 2 million pilgrims, the hajj is one of the biggest pilgrimages in the world and one of the most celebrated by the Muslim community. Hajj 2011 is expected to be on November 4-7. There are an estimated 467.5 million Muslims living in South Asia (one-fourth of the world's Mulsim population). Pray that as South Asian Muslims make the hajj to Mecca this year, the Spirit of God will open their eyes and hearts, showing them the truth of Christ Jesus as the crucified and resurrected Lamb of God who takes away their sins, if they will let Him. Pray for their journey to be the beginning of a newfound hope and relationship with Christ. A prayer activity for your church called "4 Days 4 the Kingdom" can be downloaded at the following website:
SOUTH ASIAN UNENGAGED PEOPLES. Two workers were with a group of volunteers from the United States. This group had adopted an unengaged unreached people group (UUPG), the Kondara, and had been praying for them for four years. Before the group's arrival, partners were tasked with seeking out the Kondara's exact location. The volunteers saw an actual training session, and it was discovered in the training session that a church planter was Kondara himself and was leading a large group of Kondara, with a third of them having followed in baptism, so they could now be classified as an unreached people group (UPG)! The volunteers also went out into the villages and testified of their four-year prayers and search for the Kondara. Tears fell from the eyes of the Kondara when they heard this. Many heard the Good News, and there were more decisions made and more baptisms. Praise the Lord for this answer to years of faithful prayers! Pray for these new Kondara disciples to grow in their faith and obediently share with all those around them.
Roy Rogers' 100th B-Day 'Triggers' Film Honoring His Wife's Compassion, Faith, 'Dale Evans: Beyond the Happy Trails' Premiers Nov. 5 at Birthday Celebrations Held for Fans Over 55 in 150 U.S. Cities
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., (Dale Evans Project)--'Dale Evans: Beyond the Happy Trails', from Director/Producer Steve Morales, covers less explored ground in the lives of film, TV, and radio icons Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. Behind the curtain of their glamorous careers, the documentary portrays the heroic compassion that moved them to adopt five children, and the abiding faith that anchored them through tragedy.
'Dale Evans: Beyond the Happy Trails' pays homage for the first-time to Evans' extraordinary life through vintage video footage, photos, interviews, and song -- will premiere before thousands of fans, old and new, in 150 U.S. cities during the kickoff to the 100th Birthday Celebrations of Rogers and Evans, Nov. 5, 2011. Rogers died in 1998 at age 86, and Evans followed in 2001 at age 88. Commencing with Rogers' birthday Nov. 5, nationwide birthday celebrations, held in homes, community and retirement centers, and veteran organizations among the 60+ million seniors who grew up with Rogers and Evans, will continue through Evans' 100th on October 31, 2012.
"We didn't want the legacy of Dale and Roy to be forgotten," said Morales who heads up The Dale Evans Project, a grass roots organization whose mission is to unite multiple generations to discuss the character and values that make this country great. "No couple epitomized good, morale character more than Roy and Dale. Unfortunately, most people under 55 don't know about them," continued Morales.
In the 1940s and 1950s, the team of Rogers and Evans lit up the big screen, co-starring in more than 28 films when going to a cowboy movie offered escape from the realities of WWII. With 2,000 fan clubs from the US to England to Japan and Australia, Rogers and Evans inspired generations with their character and solid moral character. Becoming one of the first icons for American girls, Evans was labeled "Queen of the West" for her portrayal of feisty characters.
Though Dale grew up in a Christian home, her faith became real later in life. For the first time, Dale found comfort and new-found happiness that intrigued Roy and others.
Off the well-documented happy trails of their on-screen magnetism, Dale and Roy blazed a trail of compassion, caring for their Down-Syndrome baby Robin, who died before her second birthday. Dale's best-selling book 'Angel Unaware', a tribute to Robin, affected millions of special needs children and their families. Also during this period, Dale penned with Robin in mind the trademark chorus "Happy Trails to you until we meet again."
Then, in 1964, their 12-year-old daughter Debbie was killed in a bus accident during a mission trip to Mexico. And, less than one year later, their son Sandy had a freak accident and choked to death while stationed with the military in Germany.
"You are not supposed to bury your children," said their eldest son Roy Rogers Jr., choking back tears in the film. "People realized their faith was real the way they dealt with tragedy."
"Mom and dad knew something good had to come from whatever was bad," said Marion Fleming Swift, a foster daughter Rogers and Evans adopted from Scotland. Out of the tragedies came more books, the proceeds of which were donated to humanitarian organizations like World Vision and Campus Crusade for Christ.
For information about The Dale Evans Project and 100th Birthday Celebrations happening near you, visit www.royanddale.com.
Copyright (c) 2011 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press www.BPNews.net